5 Essential Proposal Team Roles
Regardless of your title, you may be asked to serve on a proposal team. That means shelving your job title for a moment, and taking on a new proposal-specific role.
These roles (and what they're called) vary between organizations, but the necessity of having someone step into fill that responsibility is necessary to achieve a winning bid. Together, they build the foundation of a proposal team.
1. Decision Maker
One person needs to be ultimately responsible for decisions on strategy, consortium building, key personnel, and other internal decision making. Often this is a senior position, but not necessarily. Essentially, they are there to be the ultimate determination on any disagreement within the proposal team. Often this role also ensures that there are adequate financial and personnel resources dedicated to support the proposal.
2. Proposal Manager
The unsung hero of the proposal process is the proposal manager, who is steering the ship. They develop the proposal timeline, calendar, deliverables schedule, and ensure that the proposal team is working in harmony toward their common goal. They often schedule regular coordination meetings, and monitor progress within the team. They also serve as a resource on donor requirements, becoming intimately familiar with any solicitations, Q&A responses, or other compliance documents. Sometimes the proposal manager carries out or facilitates packaging to ensure compliance with the guidance in the final stages.
3. Technical Lead Writer
Responsible for the full technical submission, the technical writer can fall one of two ways: 1) on a smaller bid, they may write most, if not all, proposal sections, or 2) on a more complex or longer bid, they manage inputs from multiple writers. Ultimately, in either scenario, the technical writer is responsible for ensuring the final technical product meets the specifications of the donor and is coherent, often ensuring that multiple writers are harmonized to speak in a common voice.
4. Cost Proposal Lead
Similarly to the technical lead, a cost proposal lead may be a principle budget developer, or may consolidate inputs from various input providers, including consortium members. Either way, they are responsible for ensuring a complete cost proposal, including any annexes or attachments.
I could write volumes on review teams (and have), but these are core individuals outside the proposal team who provide feedback, critique, or evaluate the technical and cost proposal. Providing necessary outside eyes, a great reviewer is one who understands the donor or technical sector and can help the proposal team advance toward a competitive proposal. They should not be any individual who worked extensively on the proposal team.
Typically a proposal team includes many many more contributors, content providers, and support staff. If for some reason your organization doesn't have the bandwidth to get someone into each of these bare minimum roles, it's a signal that you probably shouldn't be bidding. It's just better practice to